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5 Mar, 2020 01:36

AIPAC conference-goers ‘potentially’ exposed to coronavirus, Israeli Health Ministry imposes self-quarantine on returnees

AIPAC conference-goers ‘potentially’ exposed to coronavirus, Israeli Health Ministry imposes self-quarantine on returnees

A number of attendees at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference may have come in contact with the lethal coronavirus, but none have yet tested positive, according to event organizers.

A group of people who traveled to the event from New York “potentially” interacted with an individual carrying the illness prior to the conference, AIPAC President Betsy Berns Korn and Chairman Dr Mort Fridman said in a statement on Wednesday.

“To our knowledge, no one who attended the conference has tested positive for coronavirus at this time,” they said, adding that the attendees in question were now in “self-quarantine.”

Washington DC health officials said it was a case of “low-risk exposure,” AIPAC continued, noting there was currently no reason to “sound the alarm,” and that the organization simply wanted attendees to be informed of the possible contact.

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The Israeli Health Ministry, meanwhile, issued new guidelines for the virus on Wednesday, asking that those returning to the country from “international conferences abroad” self-isolate at home for 14 days in the hope of limiting the spread of the illness. The ministry guideline did not single out the AIPAC event by name, however. Israel has confirmed 15 cases of the coronavirus to date, with zero fatalities.

Concluding on Tuesday, AIPAC’s annual conference in the US capital drew some 18,000 Americans, including more than 3,600 students from campuses across the country, over two-thirds of Congress, as well as a number of attendees from abroad.

A total of 11 people have tested positive for the virus in New York, according to state health officials, with the New York City-based Yeshiva University placing its campus on lockdown on Wednesday after a student there was confirmed to have the illness. Though the student has not visited the campus since late last month, the campus closure was carried out as a precaution. A group of students from the university were in attendance at the AIPAC event, according to the Intercept.

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